SMOKE: Home Alone
Originally published: 27 August 2004
If I stop typing for a second and listen to the sounds around me, all I can hear is the humming of my processor, the occasional car driving past and the odd yap from the asshole dog next door (who will not die of natural causes - it's my promise to you).
But when the dog isn't yapping and the cars have gone to sleep the silence is almost deafening - the silence of being alone.
As I write Tashi is in Johannesburg, rustling up all sorts of stories and arm-wrestling television presenters and producers, and she will only be coming back on Monday.
A wife-less weekend looms, and while 10 years ago that may have seemed like a pretty attractive thing, these days I'm not so sure.
I've always valued my privacy - to the point of fanaticism, I suppose. I leave other people alone and I expect them to do the same for me. When I was a kid and a single adult (or one in a relationship with a girlfriend) it was always an unexpected but pleasant bonus when those around me went out, leaving me alone - there's something very liberating about having nobody in the world to judge you.
But when I got married four and a half years ago I split myself in half - the bad half was discarded along with the already-overflowing garbage can of bad memories, and the good half was made whole again by joining up with another person.
When married folks say they are like one it's because it's true - Tashi and I both have our own interests, yet we are inseparable. Even when we are doing completely different things. There's an unspoken companionship - just knowing the other person is around is enough, even if you aren't in the same room.
There's a subtle noise that exists when another person is around - it's hard to define, but think about a stadium full of people who are having a minute of silence - there's a hum in the air even if nobody is talking. That same hum exists when another person is in your house.
And now that hum is gone. As is the half of me that has grown accustomed to all the benefits a partner in crime offers.
In the past I would have made all sorts of plans to exploit being alone for a while - cash flow permitting I would have organised a room-full of blonde twins who understand that incest is only an applicable phenomenon to brothers and sisters - not gorgeous twin sisters. That's just pure love, and a rare and beautiful thing to be shared with understanding and sensitive young gentlemen like myself.
I would have brought in a bar, organised some people who understand that the best sorts of parties are those you cannot remember, and I would have torn the house down. Everything would be restored to normal by the time anyone got home and I would have had my bit of fun.
But I can't do that anymore, because it's not fun doing that sort of thing without Tashi. She's not blonde, to be sure, and she doesn't have a twin sister, but I find that when she's not around I don't have any fun.
I think it's because as humans we thrive on shared experiences - it's no fun finding yourself in the most beautiful place on Earth without anyone to share the experience - you can describe an experience to people, but only those that were there with you can truly appreciate it.
I used to crave having time to myself because I wasn't "allowed" to do the things I wanted to do when girlfriends or others were around. But marriage has been the most liberating thing in my life, because we both understand that you can't stop someone from doing something they want to do as it only makes them miserable.
Marriage is about building your partner up - not tearing them down, and making them miserable.
We both want the other to be happy and to do the things we enjoy doing - marriage would be a pretty drab thing otherwise. This means that if I want a wild party I can have one, although the twins would probably need to be discussed beforehand, I would think.
So these days I can't do anything forbidden, because nobody has forbidden me to do anything. Which rather takes the fun out of being home alone.
I suppose I should have a boy's night out or something, but I really couldn't be arsed. I'll take my chances with one dejected dog, a giggling Polly and sad meals for one.
If you don't hear from me then someone call the cops - I'll probably have died from sheer excitement overload.
All Smoked Out,